FMI's Speech Topics
Past, Present and Future: How contractors succeeded during the downturn and which trends are emerging for the future
Numerous contractors, ranging from small to large, struggled to keep existing clients and grab a foothold during the downturn. In contrast, other construction companies gained traction, built a backlog, and ran very profitably and penetrated new areas of specialization. So what is their secret? Why did some companies do really well while others just barely survived? FMI will present several case studies and distill the relevant factors that made these companies unique and successful.
- Learn the business imperatives for surviving in a volatile economy
- Understand the common mistakes contractors make
- What you can do to build a company fit for the next challenge
FMI will also give an outlook on the economic forecast and the trends that are driving the future of our industry.
Innovation - The World of Construction 2.0
The word "innovation" often invokes imagery of tablet computers, holograms and spaceships. Industry leaders such as Google, Facebook and Apple wrestle for superiority in game changing innovations. Why should the construction industry - one of the largest sectors in the world - be the laggards in the conversation of innovation? Innovative concepts give way to organizational best practices daily through powerful individuals, projects teams and business units. Innovations are not high tech flashy gadgets but ground breaking ideas that create efficiency and ultimately make the industry better.
Learning points during this presentation include:
- Understand how organizations stimulate innovative thinking at ALL levels in their organization
- Examine the types of innovation and what's limits innovative thinking
- Understand the role of management and accountability in stimulating or stifling creative and innovative thought
- Examine some of the key trends in innovative management theories, technologies and macro-level trends
Building Your Talent Pool for Future Growth
During the past few years, the recession has diverted our attention from the need to invest in development of our people. As contractors prepare to emerge from the industry recession, there is still a significant need to invest in our human resources, especially as the baby boomers continue to retire at increasing rates.
- Examine training trends, challenges, concerns and innovations having an impact on the construction industry in the past year
- Identify successful training and development strategies that are now required to maximize performance and develop a culture of accountability
- Understand how you can use these techniques and strategies to advance talent development practices within your own company
- Learn what best practices leading construction firms from across the country have adapted into their strategic plan
No good deal lasts forever. Because your markets, your customers, and even your products and services change, you need a strategic plan that will help your company adapt and grow. Strategic planning helps senior executives envision and develop the company's future. In this session, you will learn how to:
- Prepare for the planning process
- Build an effective planning team
- Identify and shape your corporate culture
- Conduct a situational analysis of both your internal and external environments
- Use teamwork to achieve long-lasting results
Developing Business Plans That Work
Contractors who do an effective job of planning are usually more successful than those who do not. Determine where your company is headed and what it needs. The answers help determine whether you need a strategic plan for leadership or a business plan for management. In this session, you will learn:
- The basics of business and strategic plans
- The importance of setting short- and long-term goals
- The most effective ways to start a real direction for your company
- How to get better control over your company's future
- How to translate management direction into motivation for your employees
Utilizing Construction Industry Trends to Succeed in Your Future
The construction industry is fragmented and the economic recovery across the industry mirrors this diversity. Economic conditions continue to improve across the board, and we are forecasting a healthy 8% uptick in put in place construction in 2013 over 2012. FMI will give a synopsis of the current and emerging trends driving our industry.
- The war for talent emerges again as one of the industry’s primary challenges driven by the baby boomers exiting the workforce.
- There is an increasing divide between the very large E & C firms and the smaller niche organizations with a focus on specialty markets
- An increasing trend of U.S. construction firms looking for cross-border activity to supplement their traditional markets.
- What is driving the integration of design, engineering and construction functions within individual firms?
- Demand for infrastructure-related needs ranging from transportation to water and wastewater remains critical, although funding is still lacking.
- The expansion of the Panama Canal is just one factor driving ports and marine construction and the intermodal transportation networks to support this traffic.
- The number of mega projects of $1 billion or more is on the rise.
- Advances in technology are driven by demand for more smart buildings and the intelligent infrastructure to manage resources.
Not All Strategy is Good Strategy – Fatal Flaws to Avoid
After a long, desolate economic winter, the surviving design and construction firms are hungry for backlog. The result is fierce competition for the scant projects currently on the bidding market. In modifying your strategy or direction for your company, it is crucial that executives honestly evaluate the critical components of Climate, Customers, Competitors and Company while redefining your strategic foundation.
- How do I differentiate myself from competitors?
- Which market segments will take off?
- How have my clients' buying behaviors changed?
Organizing For Growth: How to Build a Sustainable Organization for Good Times and Bad
One of the most painful aspects of the recent market downturn has been the trauma experienced by many contractor organizations. Many firms had enjoyed such robust growth during the previous decade that most had never felt the pain of reductions in force, hiring freezes and cutbacks in professional development that have now become the norm. Now many are questioning if they have the right organizational strategy and resources in place as they prepare to climb out of the "Great Recession."
- How you should be planning for the future of your organization?
- Do you know the differences between a company's organization chart and its organizational structure?
- What should you be doing to create an organization that is sustainable in good times as well as the inevitable bad times?
Who Will Run Your Business When You're Gone? Developing Emerging Managers to Run Your Company
You have worked hard over the years to build a successful company and have worn every hat along the way. You have also hired some very talented people to manage projects and provide other technical expertise, but they do not always have the business acumen to manage the financial, marketing and human capital elements that are critical to running a complex construction company. Although people need to have a solid foundation of technical knowledge, the most successful managers of the future will have also developed strong management, leadership and business skills in order to grow their companies profitably.
- Learn to position your future leaders as an interdependent member of the management team
- Instill a commitment to pro-actively lead and manage all elements of your human capital to get the most utilization of your organizational resources
- Establish a culture of building long-term client relations that will permeate your organization and create a future legacy for your firm
How to Reduce Cost in a Poor Economy
Now more than ever contractors are searching for ways to cut costs. How you go about cutting costs is just as important as where you look for those cuts. For example, too often the immediate reaction to the need for cutting costs is to eliminate positions. Unfortunately, eliminating people usually means stifling your company's ability to do more work.
- Engage your operations team to find and eliminate waste in managing projects
- Systematically examine your expenses in both the office and in the field
- Focus on structural improvements to reduce turnover, minimize rework and consolidate overhead functions
- Stimulate the creativity of all of your employees by encouraging their input
Key Performance Indicators that Drive Best Practices
Knowing the score is a very important factor if you are going to win at the game of contracting. But how will you know if you are winning? If you only gage success by whether you made or lost money at the end of the job, it is too late!
- By identifying Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), contractors will develop the components of a solid game plan for tracking performance through the life of the project.
- By compiling the results of the KPIs, you will also develop your overall company performance on a timely basis to be able to make corrections to keep your team on course.
- KPIs can measure a business' everyday processes to define success factors and measure progress toward strategic goals.
Turning Your Project Managers into Business Managers
Although they need to have a solid foundation of technical knowledge, the most successful project managers have also developed strong management, leadership and business skills in order to execute projects profitably. Project managers need to understand the financial impact of what they do every day and learn to proactively manage cash flow, accurate forecasting of cost to complete along with tracking, pricing and collecting of change orders. The best project managers will accomplish this while maintaining positive client relationships to leverage future repeat business.
- Understand the financial impact of effective project controls, projected cash flow, and getting paid for the all of the work you do
- Proactively manage all aspects of the job utilizing innovative tools and leveraging relationships with key resources such as subcontractors, suppliers and consultants
- Build long-term client relations through an understanding of marketing and business development concepts
Marketing & Business Development
Road Map for Marketing Success
In our industry, it is imperative that manufacturers and distributors understand marketing and have a roadmap to effectively implement marketing strategies. To be successful in your marketing efforts you need to have a marketing plan that encompasses your company's strategic initiatives, existing markets, potential new markets, clients and the responsibilities of key staff. In this session, you will:
- Develop a marketing plan
- Evaluate the marketing process
- Understand the external opportunities and threats
- Examine internal strengths and weaknesses
- Set company objectives for your plan
Re-Engage: Igniting Customer Contact
We are beginning to emerge from the recession and look to the future, but the business landscape seems like a different planet than the one we left in the high-flying market of 2007. Firms need everyone on board to do his or her best work, offer his or her best ideas and most of all help bring in new clients and new work. In this session learn why it is no longer business development's job to win work; it is the role of the entire company.
The Construction Value Chain: Matching Your Value Proposition to the Needs of Your Customer
Remember that customers buy on their perception of value. If you do not differentiate yourselves in the eyes of the buyer, you will force the customer to buy solely on price. Conduct an objective analysis of your strengths and then match them to the right market sectors and targets to improve results. Capitalize on shared values with your customers. Learn how to communicate your core competencies to create the best value for your customers and your company. Separate customer value points from selling price.
- What is the meaning of differentiation and why is it important to you as a contractor?
- How can you determine what makes your company different?
- Do you really know which market sectors & clients generate the most margins for you?
- Why are you constantly fighting for space in the mind of the customer?
- Develop a structured communications plan to help you stand apart from your competition.
Selling Construction Services
Customers do not like to be sold, but they do like to buy projects that solve their business needs.
- Explore your expanding role in the "get work" process
- Identify the keys to success in positioning your firm over the competition
- Understand the role strategy plays in getting selected
- Determine the real decision-making criteria
- Find the "hot buttons" and you find the path to selling on value
- Discover strategies to keep in touch and build relationships that last
- Create the win strategy that gives you the advantage
- Getting and keeping customers committed
Building Your Backlog – Regardless of Market Conditions
Knowing how to build and manage your firm's backlog is crucial, not only during a recession, but even in the best of times. With a new business landscape clearly in view, it's time to tune up your firm's abilities. All of your staff knows that it's everyone's job to win work and keep customers happy and loyal. The key is giving them the right tools, ideas and techniques they need in order to engage new and existing customers and win work faster than your competitors.
- Motivate your people to put "feet on the street" and knocking on doors
- Get your strategy straight – know how you are going to get results
- Define the right customers for your firm
- Instill customer-focused attitude in your operations team
- Make the right choices about business development efforts
- Find the "White Space" where your firm offers a distinct advantage over competitors
- Think campaign: a sustained business development effort has more impact than one big event
- Find small improvements that will be easy to implement and maintain
Estimating for Advantage: Do You Really Know Why You're Bidding This Job?
After a multi-year trend towards negotiated, cooperative procurement of construction services, the pendulum has swung dramatically back to lump sum work. Has your firm lost its edge? Best in class contracting organizations are looking at estimating and work acquisition in a completely new way. Are you getting everything you should be from your estimating function?
Topics of discussion include FMI's experience with our clients regarding:
- The size of the shift – bid work growing as the overall market shrinks
- The seven most demoralizing (and untrue) words in estimating
- Building a best practices approach to estimating
- Why cutting your margin is not a strategy
- Why software and hardware will not solve your problem
- Keeping your subcontractors close – while taking back your role as GC
- Having your most profitable year ever – in a recession
Driving Best Practices in Business Development
As organizations try to make sense of the changing markets around them, many are putting renewed efforts into their business development approach. After observing a significant shift in this direction last year, FMI conducted an extensive, in-depth survey of contractor CEOs and top executives in an attempt to identify the current challenges of the business development process and those solutions that are yielding positive results. We will share the key findings from this research and focus on what works based on direct experiences of contractors who are leveraging a total business development culture within their firms. Areas of discussion will include:
- Why don’t the same old sales tactics work anymore?
- Implementing successful new business development activities, and measuring the results of each
- How to instill a companywide business development culture to drive new business opportunities
- Creative strategies that focus all of your resources on the customer
Practical Applications of Lean Six Sigma Concepts to Improve Efficiency and Organizational Productivity
The focus of many construction organizations remains fixed on cost reduction and efficiency. With the downward pressure on price, contractors continue to examine areas of their business that are waste – however large or small – is prevalent. As schedules contract, owners expectations rise and margins remain in a fragile balance, it is imperative that the construction industry examine its operations and develop sound lean, efficient processes. Replicable tools and processes will help firms be competitive today and maintain a sustainable advantage tomorrow.
- Examine a general history of Lean Six Sigma and the practical construction applications of Lean tools, processes and behaviors
- Understand the truths and myths about Lean implementation and how a contracting firm can implement the DMAIC concept and reduce waste in any business process
- Examine FMI’s P3 model and explore the correct way to drive efficiency and productivity
- Create an integrated approach that is consistent, sustainable and replicable long term to drive money to the bottom line
Your company is growing and it is time to expand. You have secured the dollars from the capital projects budget and now it is time to start the project. Successful project management can make the difference between an on time, on-budget project or a late, over-budget disaster. You will learn about:
- Trends in capital project management
- Strategic project organizing
- Contracting practices
- Project controls
- Management of quality and safety
High-Performance Project Teams
The high-performance project team process is designed to build upon where the traditional project partnering model. The focus is on teams whose shared interest is improving the design and construction process on specific projects, thereby preserving or enhancing quality within the constraints of tighter budgets and fast-track scheduling.
- Build a collaborative team culture throughout the life of the project
- Capture innovative ideas from highly motivated craft-level workers
- Achieve accountability through development and monitoring of measurements critical to team success
- Build a high-performance project team
- Establish and monitor consensus metrics to reinforce accountability and achieve success for all project team members
Change Order Management
Change orders account for three to 20 percent of the average annual capital-spending program. A reduction of one to three percent means big savings and FMI has a history of helping clients with these efforts. This program will help your organization:
- Understand the historical cost of change to your organization
- Identify the drivers of change
- Re-engineer project management processes to control change
- Maintain a lower cost of change over the long run
Leveraging Your Competitive Advantage by Improving Productivity
How do you win in today's tough economy? Becoming a lower-cost producer is probably the best strategy. Much like safety, productivity improvement must start at the top. Contrary to popular belief, productivity is not a field problem, but rather an important management and leadership issue.
- Improving productivity is the best way to address the current market challenges
- Learn how a minimal improvement in productivity will make you more competitive on bid day and improve your bottom line
- FMI's P3 model - Process, Productivity Tools, People
- Integration of top management and project management are critical to productivity improvement.
- Learn about the best practices that are being implemented including new technologies that will impact the industry
How to Avoid Confrontation with Change Orders
Let's face it, change orders are a way of life in construction and unfortunately, so is the conflict that seems to be inherent with trying to convince your customer of the added cost that results from a change in project scope. However, there are ways to avoid that confrontation and still be paid for the additional work that you have done. Learning Objectives:
- Master the art of dealing with delays, accelerations, additions, deletions, and other changes
- Learn to recognize a change, get paid for it
- Understand how to document and determine the amount of a change order, and how to communicate changes and their costs to clients and personnel
- Examine change costs, contract terms, and overhead, and the impact they have on scheduling and retention
Elements of Cash Flow Management and Getting Paid
Your ability to manage cash flow directly influences your project success. Being aware of these elements, combined with taking action, can lead to project success. Master the major tasks of analyzing financial statements, tracking cash conversion periods, deciding when and if to borrow, keeping your working capital at adequate levels, and protecting your bonding capacity. After the project is finished, it is time to ask for payment, a time to look at retention and final billing preparation and knowing what your options are. During this session participants will:
- Understand the ins and outs of cash flow and learn to project cash flow by dept. or job.
- Discuss track total cash flow by analyzing backlog, estimating monthly project income and anticipating cash disbursements.
- Learn how to gain the owner's acceptance.
- Examine the punch-list process-giving notice, interim versus final, allocating funds to items, establishing escrow accounts, and finishing on time.
- Discover how to negotiate using bid documents, meeting minutes, notification copies, request for change orders, cost records, estimates, schedules and correspondence as evidence.
Developing Your Leadership Pipeline
Rapid changes in technology, globalization and workforce demographics are significantly affecting the way we do business at every level. These factors are profoundly affecting our ability to recruit and retain quality people, and this is especially true in attempts to develop future leaders. By making certain your organization understands how to attract and retain star talent, you will ensure your leadership pipeline stays full, and your organization will continue to succeed.
This interactive session will help participants:
- Examine the critical issues facing internal leadership candidates
- Provide insight into how to consistently groom and develop leaders at every level so you can help move them up to the next level of leadership
- Identify who the top talent is within your organization
- Understand different methods for developing your top talent to ensure they're working at their peak level
It's 2023: Where Does Your Company Stand?
Change is occurring at a quicker pace than ever, both internally and external to our organizations. In times of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, leadership becomes more important than ever before. Long-term planning seems like nonsense with changes to the A/E/C industry occurring daily. Being aware of current global trends will help leaders navigate the volatile market in the short-term. What about the long-term? It is critical that leaders focus on their long-term organizational vision amidst the chaotic markets that currently surround us.
Participants will learn how to:
- Uncover global trends of growth and spending in the A/E/C Industry
- Discover what trends are driving change in our industry
- Understand the importance of long-term strategic planning
- Define what their company can't afford to be complacent between now and 2022
Key Principles in Building an Enduring Organization
Building an enduring organization in today's environment of unparalleled change requires the kind of leadership that drives trust, commitment, and engagement in its people. FMI will lead participants through a discussion of core elements of leadership effectiveness and organizational endurance, as well as critical skills for today's leader of tomorrow's workforce.
This interactive session will help participants:
- Clarify what sets enduring organizations apart from other organizations
- Recognize the invaluable importance of building an enduring organization in order for your organizations to last for many generations
- Identify the framework for building an enduring organization
- Examine the role leadership takes in establishing your organization's core ideology and envisioned future
Leading Employees of All Generations
From Baby Boomers to the Millennials, every generation is motivated and frustrated by different things. Research shows there are characteristics and events in history that helped shape each generation, making each of them unique. Figuring out how to lead the four generations in today's workforce is extremely challenging and overwhelming.
In this session, participants will:
- Understand the unique characteristics and motivators for each generation
- Learn strategies for communicating and effectively leading employees of all generations
- Discover how to retain and lead each generation
Leading in a VUCA World
The United States military coined the term VUCA to reflect the growing volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations. VUCA accurately describes the environment currently facing the construction industry. In times of increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, leadership becomes more important than ever before. Leaders will need a new skill set to operate effectively in a VUCA world. This interactive session will explore the unique challenges and opportunities that exist in this new environment and explore the skills leaders need to succeed.
Participants will learn to:
- Better understand how VUCA is impacting their business
- Identify the key skills leaders need to operate in a VUCA world
- Effectively manage change throughout the organization
- Create a plan to develop their next generation of leaders to effectively lead in this new business environment
The Strategic Imperative: Transforming How Leaders Think
To succeed in a constantly changing business environment, leaders need to reexamine the way they think about their business, their strategies and their people. This interactive session will explore how leaders can transform their thinking from operational to strategic, to see new opportunities and solutions to the problems they are facing. In this increasingly competitive business landscape, the leaders able to think strategically about their business will have a clear advantage in the marketplace.
This interactive session will help participants:
- Recognize the difference between strategic thinking on an individual level and apply that thinking to the organization's strategic initiatives
- Increase awareness and plan for the major trends and factors that will impact their business
- Examine the specific skills that allow an individual to think more strategically, ultimately leading to greater results
- Identify ways to develop strategic thinking skills in the next generation of leaders
Strategic Leadership: How Today's Decisions Will Impact Your Organization's Future
Strategy. Innovation. Change management. These are buzzwords in the lexicon of today's management books. What do they really mean to leaders in the construction industry? In today's world of constant, rapid change, it is more difficult than ever to chart a course through the uncertainty and ambiguity to ensure your organization's success. Leaders need to think strategically to leverage the opportunities in the marketplace while avoiding the pitfalls. This interactive session will help participants learn how to capitalize on strategic opportunities, from innovative processes to monitoring the competitive landscape, to create and sustain a competitive advantage.
This interactive session will help participants:
- Understand the difference between strategic planning and strategic thinking
- Discover how leaders can plan for the unexpected, to ensure the long-term success of their organization
- Making strategic decisions to guide the organization through turbulent times
- Predict and prepare for downstream impacts of today's decisions
Rewarding Employees through Effective Incentive Compensation Plans
A properly designed and skillfully implemented incentive compensation plan is a powerful management tool. The goals of any incentive compensation plan should be to retain your current employees, to attract new employees and to reward employees for superior performance. In this session, you will learn about:
- The different types of incentive plans
- Current compensation issues and trends
- What works, what does not and why
- Methods to link pay to performance
- Effective methods to implement the plan